Total Perspective Vortex
What really happened to Trillian? Theories abound, but you can see what she's really been up to on this blog. If you're looking for white mice, depressed robots, or the occasional Pan Galactic Gargleblaster you might be better served here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/hitchhikers/guide/.

Otherwise, hello, and welcome.
Mail Trillian here<





Join Zipcar and get $25 in free driving!

Trillian McMillian
Trillian McMillian
Create Your Badge





www.flickr.com





Instagram






Women, The Internet and You: Tips for Men Who Use Online Dating Sites
Part I, Your Profile and Email

Part II, Selecting a Potential Date

Part III, Your First Date!

Part IV, After the First Date. Now What?


"50 First Dates"






Don't just sit there angry and ranting, do something constructive.
In the words of Patti Smith (all hail Sister Patti): People have the power.
Contact your elected officials.

Don't be passive = get involved = make a difference.
Find Federal Officials
Enter ZIP Code:

or Search by State

Find State Officials
Enter ZIP Code:

or Search by State

Contact The Media
Enter ZIP Code:

or Search by State





Words are cool.
The English language is complex, stupid, illogical, confounding, brilliant, beautiful, and fascinating.
Every now and then a word presents itself that typifies all the maddeningly gorgeousness of language. They're the words that give you pause for thought. "Who came up with that word? That's an interesting string of letters." Their beauty doesn't lie in their definition (although that can play a role). It's also not in their onomatopoeia, though that, too, can play a role. Their beauty is in the way their letters combine - the visual poetry of words - and/or the way they sound when spoken. We talk a lot about music we like to hear and art we like to see, so let's all hail the unsung heroes of communication, poetry and life: Words.
Here are some I like. (Not because of their definition.)

Quasar
Hyperbole
Amenable
Taciturn
Ennui
Prophetic
Tawdry
Hubris
Ethereal
Syzygy
Umbrageous
Twerp
Sluice
Omnipotent
Sanctuary
Malevolent
Maelstrom
Luddite
Subterfuge
Akimbo
Hoosegow
Dodecahedron
Visceral
Soupçon
Truculent
Vitriol
Mercurial
Kerfuffle
Sangfroid




























 







Archives
<< current
ARCHIVES
4/27/03 - 5/4/03 5/4/03 - 5/11/03 8/3/03 - 8/10/03 8/10/03 - 8/17/03 8/17/03 - 8/24/03 8/24/03 - 8/31/03 8/31/03 - 9/7/03 9/7/03 - 9/14/03 9/14/03 - 9/21/03 9/21/03 - 9/28/03 9/28/03 - 10/5/03 10/5/03 - 10/12/03 10/12/03 - 10/19/03 10/19/03 - 10/26/03 10/26/03 - 11/2/03 11/2/03 - 11/9/03 11/9/03 - 11/16/03 11/16/03 - 11/23/03 11/23/03 - 11/30/03 11/30/03 - 12/7/03 12/7/03 - 12/14/03 12/14/03 - 12/21/03 12/21/03 - 12/28/03 12/28/03 - 1/4/04 1/4/04 - 1/11/04 1/11/04 - 1/18/04 1/18/04 - 1/25/04 1/25/04 - 2/1/04 2/1/04 - 2/8/04 2/8/04 - 2/15/04 2/15/04 - 2/22/04 2/22/04 - 2/29/04 2/29/04 - 3/7/04 3/7/04 - 3/14/04 3/14/04 - 3/21/04 3/21/04 - 3/28/04 3/28/04 - 4/4/04 4/4/04 - 4/11/04 4/11/04 - 4/18/04 4/18/04 - 4/25/04 4/25/04 - 5/2/04 5/2/04 - 5/9/04 5/9/04 - 5/16/04 5/16/04 - 5/23/04 5/23/04 - 5/30/04 6/6/04 - 6/13/04 6/13/04 - 6/20/04 6/20/04 - 6/27/04 6/27/04 - 7/4/04 7/4/04 - 7/11/04 7/11/04 - 7/18/04 7/18/04 - 7/25/04 7/25/04 - 8/1/04 8/1/04 - 8/8/04 8/8/04 - 8/15/04 8/15/04 - 8/22/04 8/22/04 - 8/29/04 8/29/04 - 9/5/04 9/5/04 - 9/12/04 9/12/04 - 9/19/04 9/19/04 - 9/26/04 9/26/04 - 10/3/04 10/3/04 - 10/10/04 10/10/04 - 10/17/04 10/17/04 - 10/24/04 10/24/04 - 10/31/04 10/31/04 - 11/7/04 11/14/04 - 11/21/04 11/21/04 - 11/28/04 11/28/04 - 12/5/04 12/5/04 - 12/12/04 12/12/04 - 12/19/04 12/19/04 - 12/26/04 12/26/04 - 1/2/05 1/2/05 - 1/9/05 1/9/05 - 1/16/05 1/16/05 - 1/23/05 1/23/05 - 1/30/05 1/30/05 - 2/6/05 2/6/05 - 2/13/05 2/13/05 - 2/20/05 2/20/05 - 2/27/05 2/27/05 - 3/6/05 3/6/05 - 3/13/05 3/13/05 - 3/20/05 3/20/05 - 3/27/05 3/27/05 - 4/3/05 4/3/05 - 4/10/05 4/10/05 - 4/17/05 4/17/05 - 4/24/05 4/24/05 - 5/1/05 5/1/05 - 5/8/05 5/15/05 - 5/22/05 6/5/05 - 6/12/05 7/24/05 - 7/31/05 7/31/05 - 8/7/05 8/7/05 - 8/14/05 8/14/05 - 8/21/05 8/21/05 - 8/28/05 9/4/05 - 9/11/05 9/11/05 - 9/18/05 9/18/05 - 9/25/05 9/25/05 - 10/2/05 10/2/05 - 10/9/05 10/9/05 - 10/16/05 10/16/05 - 10/23/05 10/23/05 - 10/30/05 10/30/05 - 11/6/05 11/6/05 - 11/13/05 11/13/05 - 11/20/05 11/20/05 - 11/27/05 12/4/05 - 12/11/05 12/11/05 - 12/18/05 1/1/06 - 1/8/06 1/8/06 - 1/15/06 1/15/06 - 1/22/06 1/22/06 - 1/29/06 1/29/06 - 2/5/06 2/5/06 - 2/12/06 2/12/06 - 2/19/06 2/19/06 - 2/26/06 2/26/06 - 3/5/06 3/5/06 - 3/12/06 3/12/06 - 3/19/06 3/19/06 - 3/26/06 3/26/06 - 4/2/06 4/2/06 - 4/9/06 4/9/06 - 4/16/06 4/23/06 - 4/30/06 4/30/06 - 5/7/06 5/7/06 - 5/14/06 5/14/06 - 5/21/06 5/21/06 - 5/28/06 6/11/06 - 6/18/06 6/18/06 - 6/25/06 6/25/06 - 7/2/06 7/2/06 - 7/9/06 7/30/06 - 8/6/06 9/10/06 - 9/17/06 9/17/06 - 9/24/06 10/8/06 - 10/15/06 10/29/06 - 11/5/06 11/5/06 - 11/12/06 11/12/06 - 11/19/06 11/26/06 - 12/3/06 12/3/06 - 12/10/06 12/17/06 - 12/24/06 12/24/06 - 12/31/06 12/31/06 - 1/7/07 1/21/07 - 1/28/07 1/28/07 - 2/4/07 2/4/07 - 2/11/07 2/11/07 - 2/18/07 2/18/07 - 2/25/07 2/25/07 - 3/4/07 3/4/07 - 3/11/07 3/11/07 - 3/18/07 3/18/07 - 3/25/07 3/25/07 - 4/1/07 6/24/07 - 7/1/07 7/1/07 - 7/8/07 7/8/07 - 7/15/07 7/15/07 - 7/22/07 7/22/07 - 7/29/07 7/29/07 - 8/5/07 8/5/07 - 8/12/07 8/12/07 - 8/19/07 8/19/07 - 8/26/07 8/26/07 - 9/2/07 9/9/07 - 9/16/07 9/16/07 - 9/23/07 9/23/07 - 9/30/07 9/30/07 - 10/7/07 10/7/07 - 10/14/07 10/14/07 - 10/21/07 11/4/07 - 11/11/07 11/11/07 - 11/18/07 12/9/07 - 12/16/07 1/6/08 - 1/13/08 1/13/08 - 1/20/08 1/27/08 - 2/3/08 2/3/08 - 2/10/08 2/10/08 - 2/17/08 2/24/08 - 3/2/08 3/2/08 - 3/9/08 3/9/08 - 3/16/08 3/16/08 - 3/23/08 3/23/08 - 3/30/08 3/30/08 - 4/6/08 4/6/08 - 4/13/08 4/13/08 - 4/20/08 4/20/08 - 4/27/08 4/27/08 - 5/4/08 5/4/08 - 5/11/08 5/11/08 - 5/18/08 5/18/08 - 5/25/08 5/25/08 - 6/1/08 6/1/08 - 6/8/08 6/15/08 - 6/22/08 6/22/08 - 6/29/08 6/29/08 - 7/6/08 7/13/08 - 7/20/08 7/20/08 - 7/27/08 8/3/08 - 8/10/08 8/10/08 - 8/17/08 8/17/08 - 8/24/08 8/24/08 - 8/31/08 8/31/08 - 9/7/08 9/7/08 - 9/14/08 9/21/08 - 9/28/08 9/28/08 - 10/5/08 10/5/08 - 10/12/08 10/12/08 - 10/19/08 10/19/08 - 10/26/08 10/26/08 - 11/2/08 11/2/08 - 11/9/08 11/9/08 - 11/16/08 11/16/08 - 11/23/08 11/30/08 - 12/7/08 12/7/08 - 12/14/08 12/14/08 - 12/21/08 12/28/08 - 1/4/09 1/4/09 - 1/11/09 1/11/09 - 1/18/09 1/18/09 - 1/25/09 2/1/09 - 2/8/09 2/8/09 - 2/15/09 2/15/09 - 2/22/09 3/29/09 - 4/5/09 5/3/09 - 5/10/09 5/10/09 - 5/17/09 5/17/09 - 5/24/09 5/24/09 - 5/31/09 5/31/09 - 6/7/09 6/7/09 - 6/14/09 6/14/09 - 6/21/09 7/12/09 - 7/19/09 7/19/09 - 7/26/09 7/26/09 - 8/2/09 8/2/09 - 8/9/09 8/9/09 - 8/16/09 8/16/09 - 8/23/09 8/23/09 - 8/30/09 8/30/09 - 9/6/09 9/20/09 - 9/27/09 9/27/09 - 10/4/09 10/4/09 - 10/11/09 10/11/09 - 10/18/09 10/18/09 - 10/25/09 10/25/09 - 11/1/09 11/1/09 - 11/8/09 11/8/09 - 11/15/09 11/15/09 - 11/22/09 11/22/09 - 11/29/09 11/29/09 - 12/6/09 12/6/09 - 12/13/09 12/13/09 - 12/20/09 12/20/09 - 12/27/09 12/27/09 - 1/3/10 1/3/10 - 1/10/10 1/10/10 - 1/17/10 1/17/10 - 1/24/10 1/24/10 - 1/31/10 1/31/10 - 2/7/10 2/7/10 - 2/14/10 2/14/10 - 2/21/10 2/21/10 - 2/28/10 3/14/10 - 3/21/10 3/21/10 - 3/28/10 3/28/10 - 4/4/10 4/4/10 - 4/11/10 4/11/10 - 4/18/10 4/18/10 - 4/25/10 4/25/10 - 5/2/10 5/2/10 - 5/9/10 5/9/10 - 5/16/10 5/16/10 - 5/23/10 5/23/10 - 5/30/10 5/30/10 - 6/6/10 6/6/10 - 6/13/10 6/13/10 - 6/20/10 6/20/10 - 6/27/10 6/27/10 - 7/4/10 7/4/10 - 7/11/10 7/11/10 - 7/18/10 7/18/10 - 7/25/10 7/25/10 - 8/1/10 9/19/10 - 9/26/10 10/3/10 - 10/10/10 10/10/10 - 10/17/10 10/17/10 - 10/24/10 10/24/10 - 10/31/10 10/31/10 - 11/7/10 11/14/10 - 11/21/10 11/28/10 - 12/5/10 12/5/10 - 12/12/10 12/12/10 - 12/19/10 12/19/10 - 12/26/10 12/26/10 - 1/2/11 1/2/11 - 1/9/11 1/9/11 - 1/16/11 1/16/11 - 1/23/11 1/23/11 - 1/30/11 1/30/11 - 2/6/11 2/6/11 - 2/13/11 2/13/11 - 2/20/11 2/20/11 - 2/27/11 2/27/11 - 3/6/11 3/6/11 - 3/13/11 3/13/11 - 3/20/11 3/20/11 - 3/27/11 3/27/11 - 4/3/11 4/3/11 - 4/10/11 4/10/11 - 4/17/11 4/17/11 - 4/24/11 4/24/11 - 5/1/11 5/1/11 - 5/8/11 5/15/11 - 5/22/11 5/22/11 - 5/29/11 5/29/11 - 6/5/11 6/12/11 - 6/19/11 6/19/11 - 6/26/11 6/26/11 - 7/3/11 7/10/11 - 7/17/11 7/31/11 - 8/7/11 8/21/11 - 8/28/11 8/28/11 - 9/4/11 9/18/11 - 9/25/11 9/25/11 - 10/2/11 10/2/11 - 10/9/11 10/9/11 - 10/16/11 10/16/11 - 10/23/11 10/23/11 - 10/30/11 11/6/11 - 11/13/11 11/13/11 - 11/20/11 11/20/11 - 11/27/11 11/27/11 - 12/4/11 12/4/11 - 12/11/11 12/11/11 - 12/18/11 12/25/11 - 1/1/12 1/1/12 - 1/8/12 2/5/12 - 2/12/12 2/19/12 - 2/26/12 3/4/12 - 3/11/12 4/1/12 - 4/8/12 4/15/12 - 4/22/12 4/29/12 - 5/6/12 5/13/12 - 5/20/12 5/20/12 - 5/27/12 6/24/12 - 7/1/12 7/1/12 - 7/8/12 7/8/12 - 7/15/12 7/15/12 - 7/22/12 7/22/12 - 7/29/12 7/29/12 - 8/5/12 8/5/12 - 8/12/12 8/12/12 - 8/19/12 8/19/12 - 8/26/12 8/26/12 - 9/2/12 9/2/12 - 9/9/12 9/9/12 - 9/16/12 9/16/12 - 9/23/12 9/23/12 - 9/30/12 10/7/12 - 10/14/12 10/21/12 - 10/28/12 11/4/12 - 11/11/12 12/9/12 - 12/16/12 12/23/12 - 12/30/12 1/6/13 - 1/13/13 1/13/13 - 1/20/13 1/20/13 - 1/27/13 1/27/13 - 2/3/13 2/3/13 - 2/10/13 2/10/13 - 2/17/13 2/17/13 - 2/24/13 3/3/13 - 3/10/13 3/17/13 - 3/24/13 3/31/13 - 4/7/13 4/7/13 - 4/14/13 4/21/13 - 4/28/13 4/28/13 - 5/5/13 5/5/13 - 5/12/13 5/12/13 - 5/19/13 5/19/13 - 5/26/13 6/16/13 - 6/23/13 6/23/13 - 6/30/13 7/14/13 - 7/21/13 8/11/13 - 8/18/13 8/25/13 - 9/1/13 9/8/13 - 9/15/13 9/22/13 - 9/29/13 10/13/13 - 10/20/13 10/20/13 - 10/27/13 11/10/13 - 11/17/13 12/1/13 - 12/8/13 12/15/13 - 12/22/13 12/29/13 - 1/5/14 6/29/14 - 7/6/14 9/14/14 - 9/21/14 9/21/14 - 9/28/14 10/12/14 - 10/19/14 11/23/14 - 11/30/14 12/7/14 - 12/14/14 12/28/14 - 1/4/15 1/25/15 - 2/1/15 2/8/15 - 2/15/15 2/22/15 - 3/1/15 3/8/15 - 3/15/15 3/15/15 - 3/22/15 3/22/15 - 3/29/15 4/12/15 - 4/19/15 4/19/15 - 4/26/15 5/3/15 - 5/10/15 5/17/15 - 5/24/15 5/24/15 - 5/31/15 6/14/15 - 6/21/15 6/28/15 - 7/5/15 7/5/15 - 7/12/15 7/19/15 - 7/26/15 8/16/15 - 8/23/15 11/6/16 - 11/13/16



Highlights from the Archives. Some favorite Trillian moments.

Void, Of Course: Eliminating Expectations and Emotions for a Better Way of Life

200i: iPodyssey

Macs Are from Venus, Windows is from Mars Can a relationship survive across platform barriers?
Jerking Off

Get A Job

Office Church Ladies: A Fieldguide

'Cause I'm a Blonde

True? Honestly? I think not.

A Good Day AND Funyuns?

The Easter Boy

Relationship in the Dumpster

Wedding Dress 4 Sale, Never Worn

Got Friends? Are You Sure? Take This Test

What About Class? Take This Test

A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away, There Was a Really Bad Movie

May Your Alchemical Process be Complete. Rob Roy Recipe

Good Thing She's Not in a Good Mood Very Often (We Knew it Wouldn't Last)

What Do I Have to Do to Put You in this Car Today?

Of Mice and Me (Killer Cat Strikes in Local Woman's Apartment)

Trillian: The Musical (The Holiday Special)

LA Woman (I Love (Hate) LA)

It is my Cultureth
...and it would suit-eth me kindly to speak-eth in such mannered tongue

Slanglish

It's a Little Bit Me, It's a Little Bit You
Blogging a Legacy for Future Generations


Parents Visiting? Use Trillian's Mantra!

Ghosts of Christmas Past: Mod Hair Ken

Caught Blogging by Mom, Boss or Other

2003 Holiday Sho-Lo/Mullet Awards

Crullers, The Beer Store and Other Saintly Places

Come on Out of that Doghouse! It's a Sunshine Day!

"...I had no idea our CEO is actually Paula Abdul in disguise."

Lap Dance of the Cripple

Of Muppets and American Idols
"I said happier place, not crappier place!"

Finally Off Crutches, Trillian is Emancipated

Payless? Trillian? Shoe Confessions

Reality Wednesday: Extremely Local Pub

Reality Wednesday: Backstage Staging Zone (The Sweater Blog)

The Night Secret Agent Man Shot My Dad

To Dream the Impossible Dream: The Office Karaoke Party

Trillian Flies Economy Class (Prisoner, Cell Block H)

Trillian Visits the Village of the Damned, Takes Drugs, Becomes Delusional and Blogs Her Brains Out

Trillian's Parents are Powerless

Striptease for Spiders: A PETA Charity Event (People for the Ethical Treatment of Arachnids)

What's Up with Trillian and the Richard Branson Worship?

"Screw the French and their politics, give me their cheese!"


















 
Mail Trillian here





Trillian's Guide to the Galaxy gives 5 stars to these places in the Universe:
So much more than fun with fonts, this is a daily dose of visual poetry set against a backdrop of historical trivia. (C'mon, how can you not love a site that notes Wolfman Jack's birthday?!)

CellStories

Alliance for the Great Lakes


Hot, so cool, so cool we're hot.

Ig Nobel Awards

And you think YOU have the worst bridesmaid dress?

Coolest Jewelry in the Universe here (trust Trillian, she knows)

Red Tango

If your boss is an idiot, click here.

Evil Cat Full of Loathing.

Wildlife Works

Detroit Cobras


The Beachwood Reporter is better than not all, but most sex.



Hey! Why not check out some great art and illustration while you're here? Please? It won't hurt and it's free.

Shag

Kii Arens

Tim Biskup

Jeff Soto

Jotto




Get Fuzzy Now!
If you're not getting fuzzy, you should be. All hail Darby Conley. Yes, he's part of the Syndicate. But he's cool.





Who or what is HWNMNBS: (He Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken) Trillian's ex-fiancé. "Issues? What issues?"







Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.


< chicago blogs >





Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Smart Girls
(A Trillian de-composition, to the tune of Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys)

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

Smart girls ain’t easy to love and they’re above playing games
And they’d rather read a book than subvert themselves
Kafka, Beethoven and foreign movies
And each night alone with her cat
And they won’t understand her and she won’t die young
She’ll probably just wither away

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

A smart girl loves creaky old libraries and lively debates
Exploring the world and art and witty reparteé
Men who don’t know her won’t like her and those who do
Sometimes won’t know how to take her
She’s rarely wrong but in desperation will play dumb
Because men hate that she’s always right

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains





























Life(?) of Trillian
Single/Zero

 
Friday, January 01, 2010  
I cried because I had no children. And then I met a woman buying a pregnancy test in a dollar store.

I like a good dollar store. And not just because I’m unemployed and fallen on hard times. I’ve been perusing dollar stores for years. And it’s not just the cheap thrill aspect that lures me to them. (Though that’s a factor. If you’ve never been to a good dollar store you have no idea what amazing goods can be procured there if you hit it on a good day. ) It’s not the “this is so incredibly tacky it’s hilarious” aspect. (Though that’s a factor. Dollar stores are the showplaces of China’s worst and most ridiculous efforts in trade export.) And it’s not just to procure partyware for an impromptu fete or office celebration. (Though that’s a factor. They’ve got great party themeware. You can outfit a luau themed soiree for 8, complete with Tiki mask cutouts, hanging Tiki lanterns, grass skirts and plastic cocoanut bikini tops for under $25. I know. I know!) And it’s not because I’m part Scottish. (Though that’s a factor. There’s a big difference between thrifty and cheap. By the way. And I’m only a halflass so even if I am at times cheap there are plenty of other times I’m not.) It’s not even the preponderance of Faygo pop at many dollar stores. (Though that’s a factor. Hey. Faygo is Detroit and don’t knock Rock and Rye or Faygo Red Pop until you’ve tried it. Frosh, anyone?) There’s even more to it than those obvious reasons one might saunter into a dollar store.

Difficult as it may be for some people to comprehend, one of my favorite aspects about visiting a good dollar store is: The people. Seriously. I kid you not. I love the odd mix of people present in a dollar store at any given moment. There’s a Turkish Bazaar quality. Everyone in a dollar store is by definition looking for a bargain. Either because they’re impoverished and have to buy their life’s necessities at the dollar store or because they’re looking for a cheap thrill or because they’re just cheap.

It’s not like a swap meet or flea market where you get an odd and unlikely mix of bargain hunters looking for a deal or something unusual. Unlike swap meets and flea markets, dollar stores sell the required stuff of life for a buck: Toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, tampons, Mac n’ Cheese, tins of baked beans, tape, pantyhose…usually weird brands of questionable repute and origin, but sometimes you can snag brands you know and trust that cost at least double at the Target across the street. Often the name brand items at the dollar store are in French language packaging or cutting it close to the sell-by date. Until recently I never seriously considered using any of the off-off-off brand items at the dollar store, but lately I find myself thinking, “Hey, how bad could it be?”

Then I remember the tainted toothpaste massacre a few years ago. The tainted toothpaste was some off-off-off brand sold primarily at dollar stores. And call me a snob, but off-off-off brand tampons scare the bejeezus out of me. Times are hard but I’ll continue to trust my feminine hygiene to Proctor and Gamble until I’m living in a viaduct under an expressway and rummaging for food in dumpsters.

That was what I was thinking as I shuddered away from the feminine product section of the dollar store and made my way to the checkout.

It was New Year’s Eve. My mother sent me out to procure a bottle of champagne and ice cream for our big New Year’s Eve shindig. Me, my mother, champagne, ice cream, and a Thin Man marathon on TCM…yeah, we’re livin’ on the edge of Crazy Town.

I had to drive a couple towns over to find the ice cream my mother really likes. Long story. Blog for another day. That town happens to have a dollar store. So I thought, “What the heck, I’m here, and hey, wouldn’t it be funny to get some lame New Year’s Eve party hat to wear on my return home proffering champagne and ice cream?! Mum’ll get a laugh out of that.” See what I mean about dollar stores? Where else can you count on to find a lame New Year’s Eve party hat for a mere dollar? You know they’re going to have one and everything’s a buck, voila! easy and cheap. Just the way we like it.

I found a suitably tacky and over-the-top New Year’s Eve party hat in seconds flat. Natch. But since there was a long line at the one open register I decided to take a stroll around the store. Natch.

I hit people watching pay dirt. The mix of people in a dollar store is typically a rich pageant of diversity. But on New Year’s Eve? Holy you have entered another dimension. I’ve been in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. I’ve been in Greenwich (England) on New Year’s Eve. I’ve been in a hospital emergency room on New Year’s Eve. I’ve worked behind a bar on New Year’s Eve. All of those New Year’s Eve experiences added together do not equal the cross section of society I encountered in that dollar store in the 20 minutes I was there. Name an age, race, gender, religion, sect, social status, hair style or fashion trend and I guarantee I saw it in that dollar store on New Year’s Eve.

And I’m pretty sure I saw both Elvis and Michael Jackson. Very much alive. Elvis was looking at picture frames, apparently trying to decide between one adorned with cherries or puppies. Maybe a present for Lisa Marie? Michael was looking in the book section and leafing through a book about Revelations. Maybe a present for Lisa Marie? (Dollar stores have some weird literature. Most of it is in large print and most of it has something to do with End of Days or life after death experiences or training your dog or the GOP or something written by a former astronaut. I love astronauts, respect and admire them, and yearn to be one…but…their books are always disappointing. They do not have the write stuff. (sorry, couldn’t resist, I’ve been hanging out with my mother too much, she’s rubbing off on me))

Spirits in the dollar store were high with anticipation of the night’s festivities. People were jovial and in a few cases a little tense. A few harried mothers with kids in tow were clearly annoyed by the busier than usual store. They obviously just needed Mac n’ Cheese and diapers and were bothered by all the high spirited patrons buying hats, noise makers, decks of cards and balloons.

Shaking off the fear of the off-off-off brand tampons I got in line behind one of the harried mothers. She had a baby on her hip and a pre-schooler clinging to her coat sleeve. The mother's coat was worn thin and had some tears in the seams. The kids were clean but their clothes and jackets showed the well worn, many washings wear of hand-me-downs that have been handed one too many times. Shopping at the dollar store was an obvious necessity for them. The pre-schooler wanted a toy. The mother was holding a crumpled $5. I could see her doing the math. I know that look. I often have that look myself. The look of concentration trying to figure out the sales tax on four items. She arrived at her sum and told the kid to put the toy back, not tonight, she didn’t have the right change for it, she told him.

I had a bunch of singles in my pocket. Silently, as clandestinely as possible, I slid two $1s into her hand. She jerked her head around to see who was giving her money. I gave her the universal quick, almost imperceptible slight shake of the head that I hoped said, “Take it. Don’t question it, don’t overthink it, don’t be too proud or embarrassed, just accept it as quietly as it was given to you.” I then made a quick eye gesture toward the toy her pre-schooler had just returned to the shelf.

There was now space on the checkout belt for her to place her items. Two jars of baby food, Mac n’ Cheese, and...a pregnancy test. An off-off-off brand pregnancy test.

Oh cripes. Seriously? First the tampons and now this? Maybe it’s perfectly fine, perfectly accurate…but…would you trust your pregnancy determination to an off-off-off brand pregnancy test from a dollar store?

After the initial shock of finding out the dollar store not only carries pregnancy tests but off-off-off brand pregnancy tests wore off (as opposed to what? Out of date or French packaging name brand pregnancy tests?) I was hit with the irony of my PMS and dollar store brand tampon contemplation in contrast to this woman’s pregnancy test. Dollar stores, man, I’m tellin’ you, it’s incredible what you can discover there.

New Year's Eve, 2009, at a dollar store in rural Michigan. Two women find themselves in line at a dollar store in Michigan. One struggling to feed her two young children and worried that she may have another one to feed in a few months. The other buying a party hat and PMSing. Lifetime couldn't write a better plot outline than that.

I hoped I didn’t have an “Oh crap, not another mouth to feed…what? Did she buy condoms at the dollar store, too? No wonder she’s pregnant...” look on my face. I wasn’t thinking that, but, I was worried that she would think I was thinking that. So I guess in a way I was thinking that.

We exchanged a very brief conversation with our eyes. Her eyes looked at me, and then at the party hat I was holding. My eyes looked at her pre-schooler and then back at the toy. She looked down at her feet (worn out cheap diner waitressy sneakers), then at mine (fancy shmancy hiking boots my mum bought for me), then back up at me.

I stood there wrapping her and her kids in layers upon layers of metaphoric blankets of compassion.

I even prayed. Yes. Really.

This called for a lot more than a Snuggie® and a few positive hopes to the Universe. “Please God, let that pregnancy test be accurate and please cut her some slack and don’t burden her with another child if she can’t afford to take care of it. Give her an accurate negative reading on that test and I swear to, well, You, I’ll reconsider my questions about Your existence. Oh. And give her the will to take that toy off the shelf and use the $2 I gave her to buy it for the kid.”

There was now space on the belt for my over-the-top tacky New Year’s Eve party hat. I tossed it on the belt. It looked so incongruent and weird and funny in contrast to her jars of baby food and pregnancy test. That moment, that visual, says more than I could ever articulate about dollar stores. A study in extreme contrasts and purposes.

Then, I swear to, well, God, she turned away from me, wordlessly, quickly grabbed the toy and put it on the checkout belt with her kids’ food and the pregnancy test.
I’m not saying there in the dollar store I turned a religious corner and now Believe.

But.

I did thank God. Hey. I only said I would reconsider my questions. I didn’t say I would ipso facto Believe.

The brightly packaged toy on the checkout belt made my silly party hat look less silly.

Oddly, it also made her pregnancy test look less ominous.

Dollar stores, man, it’s amazing what you can discover there.

She paid for her stuff with her $5 and the $2 I gave her and quickly left the store.

I bought my silly party hat, stopped for the champagne and ice cream and trusted brand name tampons and started the drive back to my parents’ house. Night had fallen, the moon was hugely full and very bright. Michigan, in Winter, at night during full moons, has a unique look. It’s a little bit eerie. But just about the time you start to be a little creeped out by the glow of the moon on the snow and frozen lakes, the blue nightglow on snow, is outshined by the bright stars cheerily dotting the black velvet painting sky.

I love that about Michigan. No matter how eerie and creepy things might feel down here on cold Winter nights in the middle of nowhere, the endless possibilities of stars that seem so close, so bright, that they’re within reach, chase away the creeps by filling the imagination with adventure and awe and wonder. You get so caught up in the wonders of the Universe that seem within reach that you forget how things seem a little creepy down here. And yet...all the while there's a connectedness that's all very cliché but poignant nonetheless. If you've ever been outside at night in rural Michigan in the middle of Winter I don't have to explain any of this to you. It's beautiful and a little creepy but mostly very Earth, Universe, human place on it and in it. It's humbling and spiritual (and a little bit creepy) and I love it. Those nights, those moments, are gifts and I cherish them. To be given that gift after the whole dollar store pregnancy test incident was so apt that I rolled down the car window and stuck my arm and hand out into the night. I do that. On those nights, in those moments, I'm compelled to try to be physically part of it. I drove along with my arm and hand grasping into the night thankful for the full moon, the Winter night, my mother and my non-dollar store tampons.

I turned onto my parents’ street and as if on cue light snow flakes started falling. For me snow falling on moonlit nights in Michigan is as close to pure bliss as it gets. If there is such a place as Heaven, it's a night such as that with fresh powdery snow flakes gently falling and space to make a choir of snow angels. The falling snow was the icing on the slap in the face with gratitude cake I was served at the dollar store.

Okay, I get it, okay? Thanks, Universe, or, God. Thanks for helping that woman take the toy for her kid. Thanks for giving me a reality check.

I long to be in a relationship healthy and solid enough to produce and sustain children. But what is such a basic fact of life for most people evades me. I see children and my heart aches because I want them, and what they stand for (for me they stand for, the result of a good, healthy, lifelong partnership, of, and, continuation of the species). I can't even manage the most basic biological function our species is designed to do. That makes me feel really, really bad about myself. And now I don't even have a job. And if I don't find one, soon, I'll be homeless. So yeah. Life kinda sucks.

But. I’m not struggling to feed two kids and buying a pregnancy test at the dollar store. I get it, Universe. Things can always be worse and as much as things suck, I’m okay. I’m lonely and scared about my future but I have my mother and a sturdy pair of new hiking boots. And not only do I not have to worry about being pregnant with a child I can’t afford, but, I don’t even have to buy dollar store tampons. Duly noted, humble pie eaten. Thanks for the dollar store and snow and the stars and that singularly special Michigan Winter night feeling. I am grateful for what I have and, I am grateful for what I don't have. It all happens, or not, for a reason. If I had children the unemployment and soon-to-be homelessness would be unfathomable. Dragging innocent children down with me is unconscionable. Much as I love children and wanted to have someone in my life to create a family with, given what's happened to me I am glad that it's just me.*

I parked the car in the garage but instead of going inside I went out into the night to enjoy my Winter night gift a little longer.

I half expected to take a final look up at the night sky and find the stars or snow flakes spelling out, “All is well.”

I went into the back yard and flopped down into the snow. Like I've done so many times, so many nights in my life, I just laid there in the snow looking up at the night sky, mesmerized into reverie by the snowflakes falling. When you lay there long enough it become difficult to discern between the stars and the snowflakes. You get kind of dizzy. It's also very hypnotic. I like to imagine that the flakes are small stars and I'm floating through space. Then, when the flakes land on me I feel connected to the Universe, part of it. Hey. Don't knock it 'til you've tried it. It's a special kind of natural high. And if you just roll with it, it feels really, really good.

I made several snow angels, a circle of them joined at the wingtips, peered into the Universe, told my dad the angels were for him, donned my over the top New Year’s Eve party hat and went inside to celebrate the end of a very, very crappy decade.

Remember 1999? I know. It seems so long ago and yet...not so long ago. At the start of this decade, this millennium, I thought the ensuing 10 years would bring a lot of changes - marriage, a move, quitting a job I didn't love, new adventures, a home, and children - among them. Good changes. I was poised on the precipice of what I thought was an exciting, happy, active future. Instead I got my heart ripped out, beaten up and damaged beyond recognition, I was mugged and maimed into restricted mobility, I was laid off, I'm going to be homeless and there hasn't been a need for a pregnancy test. I never in a million years could have guessed my father wouldn't live to see the end of the decade. I thought I'd be running out into the snow to show my children how to make snow angels, not gingerly limping into the snow making them for my deceased father. Everything changed, but not in the ways I thought or ever could have predicted. That's life. Expect the unexpected and all that. Yeah. I get it. Heck, I embrace it. I'm out there making snow angels for my dad and feeling especially giddy about being able to buy name brand tampons - and needing to buy tampons instead of a pregnancy test at the dollar store.

Happy new year. Happy new decade.




*Though...I know for a fact that at my company, the HR office assessed employees based on their family status. Those with children were, for the most part, spared. The prevailing majority of us who were laid off are childless or have children over the age of 18. Discrimination? Yep. But. There's no "fair" way to choose who gets laid off. Parents argue that laying off childless employees is the fair way to do it because it's more humane and a better economic decision. Childless people get lower unemployment benefit payments so it's less of a drain on the unemployment funds to layoff childless people. I was told this by a manager at my former company. He had to cut two people in his department. He didn't want to let go of anyone. He struggled to make the decision. He hemmed and hawed and tried to figure out how to keep everyone employed, but was then effectively mandated to lay off two people because they were single and childless. He was told, "It's an easy decision. You have two younger employees who are childless. You don't have to feel guilty about starving kids when you lay off the single, childless employees." Who says corporate America is cold and morally bankrupt? The fact is basic: If I had children there's a good chance I'd still be employed.

9:45 PM

 
This page is powered by Blogger.